Sunday Notes Columns – 02.25.07

A few links and notes for today.

David Scott has been filling up Scott’s Shots with Spring Training observations. He just might be the most prolific blogger during his time down there, and that’s saying something, considering the efforts of Rob Bradford.

Scott Benson on the Patriots Game Day page has the first in the series of quick draft profiles of players the Patriots might be interested in drafting come April. The first profile is of Purdue LB-DE Anthony Spencer.

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Here’s a roundup of the notes columns from today’s papers:

Globe Baseball Notes by Nick Cafardo. (Wells weighs in on Boston)
Herald Baseball Notes by Tony Massarotti. (Lowe gets a high sign)
MetroWest Baseball Notes by Art Davidson. (Seeing Reds)
Standard-Times Baseball Notes by Jon Couture. (AL East’s other three remain just that)

Globe Football Notes by Ron Borges. (There will be Bills to pay)
Herald Football Notes by Michael Felger (Dillon filled his part)
MetroWest Football Notes by Albert Breer (Offense in need of an upgrade)

Globe Basketball Notes by Shira Springer (Kobe, the restored version)
MetroWest Basketball Notes by Scott Souza. (Wallace searching far and wide for the next great Celtic)

Globe Hockey Notes by Kevin Paul Dupont. (DiMaio’s picture still fuzzy)
MetroWest Hockey Notes by Douglas Flynn. (Baby B’s ready to contribute in Boston)

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On TV Today

The highlight for Boston fans might be another chance to salivate over Greg Oden. The Celtics, winless thus far on their West coast trip (0-4) continue their march towards a date with the ping-pong balls.

Noon, CBS – Louisville @ UConn (HD)
12:30pm, NESN – Boston University @ Albany
1:00pm, ABC- Bulls @ Pistons (HD)
2:00pm, CBS – Duke @ St. John’s (HD)
2:00pm, NBC- Accenture Match Play Championship (HD)
4:00pm, FOX – Nextel Cup: Auto Club 500 (HD)
3:30pm, ABC – Cavs @ Heat (HD)
4:00pm, CBS – Wisconsin @ Ohio St (HD)
5:30pm, NESN – North Carolina @ Maryland
8:00pm, ESPN – Kings @ Pacers (HD)
8:00pm, FSN – Arizona @ Arizona St

Weekend Watch – College Hoops Heating Up

We’re deep into college hoop season as the sport dominates the weekend. We’ve also got NBA, NHL, Golf and NASCAR schedule for the next few days.

Be sure to check in with Scott’s Shots this weekend as the updates from Fort Myers will continue.

If you didn’t get a chance to check out the mock draft mashup put together by Scott Benson on the Patriots Game Day page, it’s worth a look.

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For the first time Patriots All Access will be doing original programming year round. The plan is for the show to air once a month during the off-season.

The first off-season show is this Saturday night from 7-7:30 on WCVB Ch 5.

This week’s show features a behind he scenes look at the Pro Bowl with Bill Belichick and his staff. The show had unlimited access to Belichick as he worked his squad out during the week. He was mic’d up for practice, meetings and the game, and you’ll hear from Peyton Manning and LaDainian Tomlinson, among others on what it was like to work with Belichick. It promises to be a show worth catching.

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Bill Simmons remembers Dennis Johnson.

Chad Finn also pays tribute to DJ.

John Walters says DJ left behind a lasting legacy.

Jessica Camerato has another good piece remembering Johnson.

Adam Reilly acknowledges DJ’s greatness as a player, but feels that his 1997 domestic abuse arrest shouldn’t be glossed over. While I agree that the incident shouldn’t be ignored when considering DJ as a person, the guy just died for crying out loud.

Reilly also has Globe editor Marty Baron explaining why the story of Tom Brady’s impending fatherhood was considered front page, above the fold news by the paper.

Cold Hard Football Facts claims that Brady makes Boston relevant nationally.

Curt Schilling (Gehrig38) weighs in on the attention his contract situation has gotten on SoSH.

Jon Heyman thinks that Manny’s latest incident might finally lead the Red Sox to trade him, possibly to the Rockies.

Dr Z has a mailbag this week, allowing the readers to chime in on lousy announcers and other topics.

Mike Freeman writes a typical Manny Ramirez column.

The Media Circus has a look at the media hot stove and bizarre mismatched musical acts at various sporting events.

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890 ESPN Radio Boston is sponsoring “Half Minute Ticket to Fame,” a contest where entrants create their own 30 second video commercial. The winner will also have the chance to appear in the final ad, which will be produced by 890 ESPN Radio Boston and aired on TV.

From the Patriots and Red Sox to 890 ESPN Radio Host Mike Felger – all relevant subjects are up for grabs when it comes to the content of the winning commercial. There is a March 8 deadline to the contest and entries have begun to arrive, and will be posted on the 890 ESPN You Tube page as well as at www.890espn.com for viewing, commenting and voting.

To enter 890 ESPN Boston’s “Half Minute Ticket to Fame” Contest and for complete contest rules, visit www.890espn.com.

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In Through the Fire: 2-Disc Special Edition, ESPN tells the story of high school phenom Sebastian Telfair (now with the Celtics) and his jump from high school basketball to the NBA. This special edition release of its 2006, award winning predecessor includes two of Telfair’s high school games and an inside look at how he and his family have faired in the nearly three years he’s been in the league with a specially featured round table discussion. Through the Fire 2 Disc Special Edition DVD is in stores nationwide; $27.99 SRP.

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Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9:30 a.m.) will examine what impact the NBA age-limit rule is having on college basketball. The new rule mandates players must be at least one year removed from high school before entering the NBA, and this week Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said it is ”the worst thing that’s happened to college basketball since I’ve been coaching.” Knight will be interviewed on the show to discuss the topic.

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FOX Sports will unveil its brand new, high-tech “Hollywood Hotel” traveling NASCAR prerace studio this Sunday as host Chris Myers and analysts Jeff Hammond and Darrell Waltrip move into the next generation mobile studio unit prior to FOX Sports’ live coverage of the Auto Club 500, Powered by Q Motor Oil on Sunday, Feb. 25 (3:00 PM ET).

The new studio’s enlarged desk has room for up to five people and is now situated in front of two massive 71-inch plasma screens. The plasma displays have the ability to combine and offer a single visual image that stretches an incredible 142 inches, and also the flexibility to offer multiple visual feeds across the field to illustrate the subject matter currently under examination. To the left and right of these screens are additional flat-panel displays that feature supplementary visual content, including highlights, graphics and statistics. Above all this runs a scrolling LED ticker that is capable of exhibiting the upcoming race’s starting grid, as well as the current championship points standings, running order, or other pertinent information.

Sports Media Columns from around the country:

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at planned coverage of the NFL combine in Indianapolis by the NFL Network which will devote 27 hours of programming to the workouts. Bill Doyle has a look at WEEI’s fifth annual “Whiney Awards” which will take place next Tuesday night at the TD Banknorth Garden. David Scott has been filing media reports from Red Sox spring training, and will continue to do so over the weekend. Friday’s installment has a look at a new NESN show planned for May” “The Globe 10.0″ airing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30pm.

New York

Phil Mushnick takes apart a college basketball announcer (ho happens to be Red Sox NESN broadcaster Don Orsillo) and a SportsCenter anchor for not knowing what they’re talking about. Each announcer proclaimed a recent home win by a pretty good team “a huge upset” when in reality they were anything but. Richard Sandomir reports that MLB’s deal with DirecTV has gotten F.C.C. attention. Pat Reichart reports that Bill Parcells to ESPN is 99.9% done. Neil Best has a look at growing pains for college sports networks ESPNU and CSTV, and praise for the book Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich by Mark Kriegel. Rob Raissman looks at the overkill of the A-Rod/Jeter soap opera in the New York media. Reichart has Five Questions with Mets analyst Ron Darling.

More East Coast

Aaron Bracy says good bye in his final column for the Courier-Post. Laura Nachman has a look at Jon Slobotkin, vice president/executive producer of live events for Comcast SportsNet, who worked his way up through the business from the bottom. Bob Smizik has a piece on Penguins announcer Mike Lange, in his 29th season calling games for the club, but first on the Penguins-owned radio broadcasts after being fired by FSN on the TV broadcasts. Jim Williams reports on Tony Kornheiser returning to local radio. He also has a look at the Mid Atlantic Sports Network’s coverage of the Nationals and Orioles. Michael McCarthy says former coaches turned analysts can be good if they’re completely candid. Michael Hiestand has Johnny Miller saying that match play is a “crapshoot.”

South

Barry Jackson has Michael Irvin remaining upbeat despite losing his ESPN job. He also reports that a Miami TV station will not bring Tim Hardaway back as their Heat playoff analyst due to his comments from last week. Dave Darling lists out the 10 best, 5 worst and 5 most overrated sports movies. David Barron notes that this Sunday’s Rockets game will not be on local TV for the first time since the late 1990’s due to a scheduling quirk.

Midwest

Teddy Greenstein has Tom Waddle preparing for his new show on WMVP. Dan Caesar looks at KMOX remaining atop the St Louis sports radio ratings despite not having any of the pro sports teams on their airwaves. Bob Wolfley has the University of Wisconsin and Marquette men’s basketball teams getting into the national spotlight the next two weekends. He also looks at the Brewers TV lineup. Paul Levy tries to solve the mystery of the voice of Bill Woodson heard on voiceovers during Twins broadcasts.

West Coast

Larry Stewart says FOX is still very bullish on NASCAR and doesn’t see a way they can lose with the sport. Jim Carlisle says that match-play golf can be risky business for television. Stewart’s notebook agrees with that premise. Tom Hoffarth catches up with longtime USC announcer Tom King, and has the top 10 and bottom 5 play by play announcers in the LA market. John Maffei has NBC hoping that Tiger Woods can stick around to play in the match-play rounds they’re showing this weekend. Joe Davidson is disturbed by the growing trend by prep coaches and administrators to try and control information the same way their college and pro counterparts are.

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TV Highlights This Weekend

Friday February 23rd

7:00pm, NHPTV – Providence @ UNH (Hockey)
8:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Lightning (HD)
8:00pm, ESPN – Wizards @ Bulls (HD)
10:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Lakers
10:30pm, ESPN – Jazz @ Nuggets (HD)

Saturday February 24th

Noon, CBS – Oklahoma St. @ Texas Tech (HD)
Noon, ESPN – Syracuse @ Providence
Noon, NESN – Miami @ Virginia Tech
Noon, CN8 – Drexel @ Towson
1:00pm, TV38 – Clemson @ Boston College
2:00pm, NBC – Accenture Match Play Championship (HD)
2:00pm, CBS – Pittsburgh @ Georgetown (HD)
2:00pm, ESPN – Illinois @ Penn St
3:30pm, ABC – Georgia Tech @ Virginia
4:00pm, ESPN – Rutgers @ Villanova
4:00pm, ABC – Florida @ LSU (HD)
5:00pm, ESPN2 – Wichita St. @ Creighton
6:00pm, ESPN – Iowa St. @ Kansas
6:00pm, FSN – Stanford @ UCLA
7:00pm, CN8 – Vermont @ Boston University (hockey)
7:00pm, NHPTV – UNH @ Providence (hockey)
7:30pm, NESN – Bruins @ Panthers
7:30pm, ESPN2 – Busch Series Stater Bros. 300 (HD)
9:00pm, ESPN – Indiana @ Michigan St (HD)
9:00pm, FSN – Celtics @ Jazz

Sunday February 25th

Noon, CBS – Louisville @ UConn (HD)
12:30pm, NESN – Boston University @ Albany
1:00pm, ABC- Bulls @ Pistons (HD)
2:00pm, CBS – Duke @ St. John’s (HD)
2:00pm, NBC- Accenture Match Play Championship (HD)
4:00pm, FOX – Nextel Cup: Auto Club 500 (HD)
3:30pm, ABC – Cavs @ Heat (HD)
4:00pm, CBS – Wisconsin @ Ohio St (HD)
5:30pm, NESN – North Carolina @ Maryland
8:00pm, ESPN – Kings @ Pacers (HD)
8:00pm, FSN – Arizona @ Arizona St

DJ Remembered

A busy day today in the world of Boston sports, unfortunately, it’s not all good times.

Steve Bulpett reports on the shocking death of Celtics great Dennis Johnson at the age of 52, and gets reaction from his teammates from those great 80’s teams. Shira Springer looks at the death which shocked and saddened many around the NBA. Desmond Connor says that there are players with more natural talent than Dennis Johnson, but they don’t compare to him. Lenny Megliola has a farewell to the player Larry Bird called the best he ever played with.

Jackie MacMullan has a tremendous piece on DJ, and how he always rose to the occasion when it mattered most. Bulpett also has a very nice appreciation piece on Johnson, and how his memory will stand forever in the Celtics pantheon. Mike Szostak remembers DJ for his free throws, socks and playoff performances. Tim Weisberg says that Johnson provided himself to be two things over the course of his career, a fighter and a winner. The Herald has a page of reaction to DJ’s death from friends and colleagues.

I’d like to give a nod to Big Show producers Andy Massaua and Brett Erickson, as well as the whiner line callers, for the tribute to DJ in that segment of the show yesterday. It got a little dusty in my car in those minutes yesterday. Well done guys.

The hosts of the show did their best on the topic, but it was a day in which Glenn Ordway would’ve shone with his stories of the 1980’s Celtics. Pete Sheppard did a good job of leading the discussion, but Larry Johnson and Steve Buckley weren’t always up to the task. When Cedric Maxwell was on the show and mentioned that he had just talked to Gerald Henderson, Johnson asked if they had talked about “that great game where Bird stole the ball” and passed it to DJ…Maxwell gently reminded him that neither he nor Henderson were with the Celtics at that point.

Bulpett has Danny Ainge feeling OK that he didn’t make a trade before yesterday’s deadline.

Patriots

Mike Reiss reports that Corey Dillon has asked the Patriots for his release, which will be granted and he intends to retire. However…Albert Breer reports after talking with Dillon’s agent, that the running back will see what other opportunities are out there in the NFL during the free agent period. In either case, it appears that Mike Felger won’t have to fear going by #28 locker anymore.

If you’re curious about who the experts think that the Patriots might draft in April, stop by the Patriots Game Day page, where Scott Benson has compiled six of the more accurate mock drafts together into one sheet and tried to come to some sort of consensus on the players the Patriots would be interested in.

Eric McHugh looks at the apparent decision by Tedy Bruschi to return for another season with the Patriots.

Red Sox

A cynic might think Curt Schilling is pretty mad that DJ died yesterday and pushed Schilling off the headlines and airwaves. After his announcement on the Dennis & Callahan show that he would file for free agency this fall, WEEI had been all Schilling talk prior to the news that Johnson had died. Many callers and most of the hosts were of the opinion that the Red Sox were making a mistake in not extending Schilling now.

Gordon Edes looks at the decision by the Red Sox not to extend Schilling until after the season. Jon Couture says that there is just no point in the Red Sox rushing to sign Schilling at this point. Jeff Horrigan has Schilling a little irked by the “business decision” made by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox management. Steven Krasner has more on the Red Sox decision not to extent Schilling. Tony Massarotti examines the Red Sox wait and see tactic with Schilling. Jeff Goldberg notes Schilling’s resolve to test the free agent market next fall after the Red Sox decision. Joe Haggerty looks at Schilling being set to walk after 2007.

David Scott reports from Spring Training with a look at the goings on yesterday, as well as a look at the FSNNE operations in Florida.

Krasner has a look at Daisuke Matsuzaka taking a heavy workload early on in camp. Massarotti says that the Red Sox are OK with the latest Manny Ramirez drama. Haggerty has Manny’s mates, including Mike Lowell support him. Horrigan has teammate reaction to Manny.
Dan Shaughnessy tells us that covering the Red Sox is like doing layups on an eight foot rim. There’s always something going on which makes it so easy he can do it in his sleep. Which he apparently does pretty often.

Edes’ notebook has Daisuke Matsuzaka dreaming about the Red Sox signing Ichiro Suzuki after the latter becomes a free agent next fall. Horrigan’s notebook has Matsuzaka extending his bullpen session to 103 pitches. Most pitchers at this stage are throwing 35-40 pitches. Krasner’s notebook says that Manny won’t be going to the car auction tomorrow after all.

Bruins

Stephen Harris reports that a new contract for Marco Sturm is all but done. Fluto Shinzawa has Peter Chiarelli surprised that none of his colleagues made a deal at the recent GM meetings.